I am living my best football life these days. My new college team, the Appalachian State Mountaineers, just won their conference and sealed a bowl bid in New Orleans. Meanwhile, the Superdome’s regular tenants, the New Orleans Saints, are having one of the best seasons in their history, and mine.
I started going to Saints games in the 1980s, when they were so bad some of the fans still wore bags on their heads. I suffered through Bobby Hebert and John Fourcade and Bubby Brister and every forgettable arm we ever fielded before current quarterback Drew Brees brought us from out the malaise.
Brees gave us a Superbowl victory at the end of the 2009 season and we love him for it, but we would have loved him anyway. That’s how Saints fans do.
I love being a Saints fan, even — no, especially — in Carolina Panthers country, where the division rivalry has become heated over the years.
I love wearing Saints gear on Sundays and feeling the scowls of Carolina fans as I run my errands. I love the black and gold colors, the classic logo, the songs their fans write about them — find Shamarr Allen’s “Hit the Sean Peyton” on YouTube to see what I mean.
And I love them even when they’re not playing well — though right now they’re playing quite well, indeed.
Though we lost last week, we won 10 in a row and barring some late-season heroics by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the Carolina Panthers, we should be in good shape for the playoffs.
But then, we were looking pretty great last season until a last-second reception in Minneapolis knocked the Saints out of Superbowl contention. It was perhaps the worst ending to a football game I’ve ever seen — though it’s not the worst thing ever to happen to the New Orleans Saints, not by a longshot.
And as a Saints fan, I can appreciate that.